People talking at an Ignite Social event

A series of thought-provoking events are taking place in Chelmsford this month, including brilliant talks, panel discussions, and socials to bring the city’s creative community together. Creative spaces and places and reimagining the future of work are just some of the big themes being considered.

These events are all free to attend, so whether you’re a worker or volunteer in the creative industries, or a culture-loving resident, there’s wealth of inspiration this November.

Ignite Chelmsford Inspiring Social

Cultural forum Ignite Chelmsford hosts another popular ‘Inspiring Social’ on 9 November, this time with the theme of Creative Spaces and Places. There are two talks planned, with a Q&A afterwards. Artist Tod Hanson is on first: he’ll be sharing the story behind his FALCON 21 artwork, which has just been installed near Bond Street.

FALCON 21 artist on his new work for the city

The piece was inspired by ‘The Peregrine,’ J A Baker’s 1967 masterpiece of nature writing which follows peregrines from Chelmsford out to the marshy Essex coast between the months of October and April.  FALCON 21 celebrates the recent resurgence of this majestic species, whose population declined in the 1960s because of pesticide use and persecution.

Peregrines are the fastest animals on earth and the artist uses this attribute to symbolise Chelmsford’s aim and ambition, with an abstract background hinting at the city’s architecture, electronics heritage and tree-lined rivers.

Building a creative community in Chelmsford

The evening’s second talk is by Julia Payne and Anna Harding, who’ll be discussing the potential benefits of community-owned creative spaces in Chelmsford. Julia Payne is the director of the hub, a creative ‘think and do tank’ of social entrepreneurs for the creative sector, and Anna Harding is a senior consultant with an impressive background in the arts and property development. They’ll be sharing the details of an exciting new study into Chelmsford’s creative places and how Ignite members can add their views to this consultation.

The Ignite Social is free to attend, although a £5 donation is suggested for those who can afford it to help run future events. The event starts at 7pm on Tuesday 9 November and it’s hosted by Patch in the old Chop Bloc space just off the high street. Tickets must be booked in advance through Eventbrite.

Patch Festival of Ideas

Later this month Patch, the co-working start up bringing its vision of ‘Work Near Home’ to Chelmsford, also holds its own series of events: the very first Patch Festival of Ideas running on four consecutive nights from 16-19 November.

Each evening there’ll be a chaired panel of four key speakers discussing some of the key challenges of 21st century life: the future of culture, cities, work and innovation. It all starts on Tuesday 16 November with four speakers on the theme of ‘Building a Shared Cultural Vision’ and Wednesday’s panel will be ‘Reimagining the Future of Work’.

Thursday and Friday’s discussions will focus on ‘Crafting a Sense of Place’ and finally ‘Creating the Conditions for Innovation’. Each night is free to attend, and you can go to as many talks as you wish. The bar at Patch Market will be open after each talk so that discussions can continue over a drink or two. Book your free tickets on the Festival of Ideas Eventbrite page:

Join Ignite Chelmsford

Look out for Falcon 21 when you’re next in the city centre and if you’d like to join the Ignite Chelmsford and find out more about future events and everything the city’s cultural forum has to offer, go to

By Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at or on 01245 606984.

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